One thing even Donald Trump’s haters would have to concede is that he’s great at selling himself & promoting his message. One way he did this throughout the Presidential campaign was with a few very memorable catchphrases. One that caught on at the very end of the campaign was “drain the swamp.” His fans embraced the symbolism and his rally audiences enthusiastically chanted it during the campaign’s last few weeks. Even in recent weeks, the chant could still be heard coming from audiences during Trump’s post-election “thank you” (more aptly called “thank me”) tour.
However, this morning, during an interview on NPR, Newt Gingrich said that Trump is done with all that “drain the swamp” stuff. Here’s what Gingrich said to NPR:
I’m told he now just disclaims that. He now says it was cute, but he doesn’t want to use it anymore.
This, of course, resulted in quite a few attention grabbing headlines. However, if you read the transcript a bit further, it seems that Gingrich might have meant that Trump wouldn’t be using that specific phrase anymore, not that he was doing away with the concept:
[H]e’s in a different role now, and maybe he feels that as president, as the next president of the United States, that he should be marginally more dignified than talking about alligators in swamps.
But does Trump strike you – now, or at any point on his path to the presidency – as a man who’s concerned about appearing dignified?? Whether Gingrich meant to reveal it or not, the truth is that Trump is discarding more than just the phrase, he’s discarding the entire notion of cleaning house. Trump is filling his administration with plenty of the Wall Street veterans (e.g. Steve Bannon, Steve Mnuchin, Gary Cohn – all of Goldman Sachs, a favorite Trump campaign target), political insiders (e.g. Elaine Chao*, Reince Preibus, Tom Price), and wealthy GOP donors (e.g. Betsy DeVos, Andrew Puzder, Linda McMahon) he spent his campaign deriding, so there’s no denying that alligators abound. What great irony that Newt Gingrich – the swampiest of all swamp creatures – is the Trump ally who finally admits the obvious, even if he did so unintentionally.
*Elaine Chao is not only a veteran of the George W. Bush administration, but she’s the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. So anyone who’s counting on Sen. McConnell to provide a check on Trump, well, that’s misguided for a number of reasons, but you can add this one to the list.